June 18, 2007

The human mirror system: A motor resonance theory of mind-reading

janegoodall.jpgElectrophysiological data confirm the existence of neurons that respond to both motor and sensory events in the macaque brain. These mirror neurons respond to execution and observation of goal-orientated actions. It has been suggested that they comprise a neural basis for encoding an internal representation of action. In this paper the evidence for a parallel system in humans is reviewed and the implications for human theory of mind processing are discussed. Different components of theory of mind are discussed; the evidence for mirror activity within subtypes is addressed. While there is substantial evidence for a human mirror system, there are weaknesses in the attempts to localize such a system in the brain. Preliminary evidence indicates that mirror neurons may be involved in theory of mind; however, these data by their very nature are reliant on the presence, and precise characterization, of the human mirror system.


Agnew ZK, Bhakoo KK, Puri BK
Brain Res Rev. 2007 Jun ; 54(2): 286-293

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